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NBA Draft: Vonleh, Randle or Gordon?

Perhaps the tightest positional race near the top of the NBA Draft this year is among the power forwards – Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon.

OVERALL PRODUCTION

Coming into the draft process, Randle was higher than Vonleh and Gordon on most mock drafts.

This Season per 40 Minutes

But looking at the per-minute numbers, it appears that Vonleh has the edge.

Vonleh averaged more rebounds, blocks and steals per 40 minutes than Randle and Gordon while shooting a better effective field-goal percentage than the two of them as well.

Vonleh ranked fifth among D-I freshmen in rebound percentage (Joel Embiid was first, Randle was seventh).

OFFENSE

If we break down how the three players score, Vonleh is the much better shooter but doesn’t score at the rim nearly as well as Randle and Gordon.

FG pct by Play Type This Season

Vonleh shot nearly 50 percent on 3-pointers, while Randle shot just 9-of-52 on all jump shots.

Randle and Gordon both made about 70 percent of their shots at the rim, while Vonleh was below 60 percent.

Gordon is the far superior creator of the three players.

Gordon’s assist percentage was three times better than Vonleh’s. Gordon was the only one of the three with more assists than turnovers.

Vonleh had more than three times as many turnovers as assists.

DEFENSE

Defensively, Randle and Gordon appear to have a significant edge on Vonleh as the primary on-ball defender.

Vonleh allowed opponents to shoot 60 percent around the basket, comparing to 27 percent Randle and 46 percent for Gordon.

Vonleh might have the same ability to guard in isolation as Randle and Gordon. Vonleh allowed opponents to shoot 60 percent on isolation plays, while Randle and Gordon both held opponents to around 30 percent on those plays.

FG pct Defense by Play Type
As Primary Defender This Season

It’s no surprise, though, that Vonleh had the best block percentage of the three. Vonleh, who has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and 37-inch vertical leap, blocked greater than five percent of his opponents’ two-point field-goal attempts while he was on the court.

Among the power forwards, Randle got the most hype throughout the season as Kentucky made a run to the National Championship game. But looking deeper into the advanced statistics, Vonleh and Gordon appear to be neck-and-neck with Randle for the first power forward to come off the board.